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OnabotulinumtoxinA Injections (Botox®) For Hyperhydrosis

Although Botox is most commonly known to be used by those who want to achieve a youthful expression on their facial features, that is not its own use. The U. S. FDA approved onabotulinumtoxinA which is the full chemical name for Botox for severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis in 2004, which is a medical condition that many suffer from that has excessive sweating underneath the arms as its primary symptom. Botox has actually been approved by the FDA since 1989, and currently is the accepted treatment for eight different medical conditions the world over. Millions of patients have enjoyed the benefits that Botox can bring for problems such as movement disorders, and now America joins the nineteen other countries that use it for excessive sweating.

A naturally occurring protein that has been purified, onabotulinumtoxinA is useful to those in the medical profession because it is able to block the chemical that tells our bodies to sweat – and by interrupting this message, we can prevent sweating in the areas that it has been injected, which is why Botox injections are often just underneath the skin.

man sweating from hyperhydrosisResearch and evidence from countless doctors have proven that using onabotulinumtoxinA as a treatment for excessive sweating is not only safe and effective underneath the armpits, but also in many other areas such as the head (and face), the hands, and the feet. For underarm sweating, there is a 82-87% decrease in sweating which will bring considerable relief to the patient, and these results begin around three days after receiving the Botox injection, with the peak around two weeks. A Botox injection should work for up to a year, and in some cases it can last a few months longer than that. Not only that, but additional research has demonstrated that if the Botox treatment is repeated, it can continue to have long lasting benefits for the patient.

Although some may argue that sweating is necessary for the body to be able to regulate its own body temperature, and using Botox to prevent this under a person’s arms could be damaging to their overall health, only 2% of the body’s sweat glands can actually be found underneath our arms, and so the patient will still be able to continue cooling themselves down if they become too hot. There is also no compensatory sweating noted on any of the patients.

Just like when Botox is used for underarm sweating, excessive sweating that occurs on a patient’s hands – also called palmar excessive sweating – can also be treated by Botox, and it enjoys between 80-90% success, although repeat injections will be required every six months. There are sometimes uncomfortable side effects, such as temporary weakness and pain, but this is only felt locally.

Administering Botox may seem like just a small pinprick of a small needle, but it requires a great amount of skill, and so only those who are highly skilled should be doing it. One of the side effects from administering Botox to the face is asymmetry, and this can frequently occur on the forehead. This happens when some of the Botox finds itself in the facial muscles – but this side effect is only temporary, and can be treated.

Plantar hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating of the feet, is another area in which Botox injections are used, but due to only a 50% success rate and significant pain after the injections, this is a much less frequently used type of treatment.

Using Botox Injections Effectively

The International Hyperhidrosis Society offers training to those who wish to be able to offer patients who suffer from excessive sweating Botox treatments, and really those people should be the only people who perform it. You can tell whether or not a doctor has this training by looking for the phrase ‘Attended IHHS education and training sessions.

It does not take long for Botox to be administered for underarm sweating when done by a true professional – and in less than ten minutes in your doctor’s own office. The only restrictions that a patient will be under after receiving the injection is they are not permitted to do intensive exercise, or use a sauna on that day. Many physicians prefer there to be three or four days of hair growth.

The procedure itself consists of a very fine needle being used to place underneath the skin the smallest amounts of onabotulinumtoxinA, or Botox, usually every 1 cm in a sort of grid pattern. Your doctor will be able to decide just how many injections each patient will need to receive. Depending on the doctor and the patient, anaesthetic technology may be used.

It is recommended that every patient goes back to their doctor within the fortnight of receiving Botox for excessive sweating for a check up, so that they can ‘touch up’ any areas that are still sweating excessively. This means that the full treatment is offered, giving the patient the maximum benefits.

It is impossible to tell exactly how much Botox treatment for excessive sweating will cost, as it will depend greatly on the size of the area that needs treatment, and whether or not a patient’s health insurance will cover that treatment, but for two underarms the overall cost is about $1000. Importantly, patients should remember that onabotulinumtoxinA does not cure excessive sweating, but merely reduces the symptoms, and that means that repeat procedures will need to be done in order for the same effects to be enjoyed.

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how Botox could bring you relief from your excessive sweating, then just get in touch with a Dentox approved medical professional for a consultation.

If you are a medical professional seeking to learn how to apply Botox for hyperhydrosis and become certified in Botox injection, see our Botox Training Program here.

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